Respect my gran, stop acting like ungrateful children - Madikizela-Mandela's grandson

Cheryl Sanders
April 12, 2018

"I had the privilege of being the first grandchild they could raise after (Nelson Mandela) returned from prison".

For many South Africans, the most memorable image of Madikizela-Mandela is her punching the air in a clenched-fist salute as she walked hand-in-hand with Mandela out of Victor Verster prison, near Cape Town, on February 11, 1990.

Swelling African hymns by the Soweto Gospel Choir brought the thousands attending Wednesday's memorial to their feet and they swayed and sang along.

Shongwe, a Soweto resident, described Madikizela-Mandela as a "strong woman" who had helped them.

Shongwe echoed her sentiments, saying Madikizela-Mandela had sacrificed her whole life so SA could experience liberation.

Not everyone attending the memorial service today knew Madikizela-Mandela personally.

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Her great-grandchildren were also among the family members who paid tributes at the memorial service.

Under the social media campaign "Winnie has not died she has multiplied", scores of young women have posted pictures of themselves wearing doeks, the traditional head wrap that Ms Madikizela-Mandela frequently wore.

"There is not one of us sitting here today who would not have undergone a time of such intense hardship that we were tempted to lose hope, to give up, and to throw in the towel".

"She means everything to me", he said.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the former wife of Nelson Mandela who died in Johannesburg on Monday, was revered by many in South Africa as the "Mother of the Nation", but criticized by others over a brutal apartheidera killing by her bodyguards.

She will be laid to rest on 14 April. She was often away from her two daughters with Mandela, and in 1977, she was banished to a remote town in the middle of the country to separate her from the heart of the movement she led in Soweto.

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"You decide to choose between the nation and your young children and it was a very hard choice to make", Madikizela Mandela said in 2013.

Those years of harassment and stress were not without their toll.

She appealed and was found guilty of being an accessory in the assault, and the sentence was reduced to a fine and a suspended prison term.

Bambatha said he had organised for his girlfriend and their friends to come to Madikizela-Mandela's Orlando house where he proposed.

"Comrade Winnie Mandela loved the African National Congress, she made it her life".

A state funeral for the civil rights campaigner, who was also Nelson Mandela's former wife, will take place on Saturday (April 11) at Fourways Memorial Park cemetery.

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"For those of you who are still trying to drag the name of uMakhulu‚ archbishops and chiefs alike‚ the people are angry‚" Bambatha said.

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